Microsoft has settled its long-running lawsuit with RealNetworks, the company behind the much-maligned RealPlayer.
Real alleged that Microsoft abused its position by bundling Windows Media Player with every PC on the planet. Their lobbying and legal action in Europe resulted in Europe ordering a version of XP that ships without Media Player to be produced.
Microsoft has said sorry, and is forking out $761m to compensate Real. Of course, Microsoft probably don't care, because they've already got what they wanted - the ubiquity of Windows Media Player and the prevalence of WMA for both recorded and streaming audio. Real has nothing, except its music service, which is getting beaten by Napster in the popularity stakes.
It's one of those glorious Microsoft tricks - do what is necessary to win the market, then just pay whatever compensation afterwards. The marketshare, in this case almost total, is worth far more than a poxy few million dollars.
This from the BBC,
as tipped to us by reader MrWillyWonka:
""Today we're closing one chapter and opening a new one in our relationship with Microsoft," said RealNetworks' founder and chief executive Rob Glaser.
"The legal chapter is being closed with an appropriate and fair outcome that sets the stage for a very productive and collaborative relationship between our companies."
In addition to the $761m, RealNetworks now gets long-term access to Microsoft technologies that will enhance its Real Player software.
Microsoft has also agreed to promote RealNetworks' music and games subscription service through its MSN internet network."
Does anybody still use Real? Does it still have the Taskbar System Takeover Utility of Death? Drop in and give us your thoughts
on the state of Real today.